Certification Requirements: Clinical Nurse Specialists

General Requirements | Fees | Partial Refunds | Professional Education & Experience Requirements for Clinical Nurse Specialists

General Requirements

Effective September 27, 2014, you must be certified and registered as a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) by the New York State Education Department (SED) in order to practice as a clinical nurse specialist in New York State.

To become certified and registered by SED as a clinical nurse specialist, you must:

  • be currently registered and licensed as a registered professional nurse (RN) in New York State;
  • submit an Application for a Clinical Nurse Specialist Certificate (Form 1); and,
  • be a graduate of a clinical nurse specialist education program registered by SED or meet alternative education or experience criteria acceptable to SED (which are described in more detail below).

SED certifies clinical nurse specialists to practice in the following specialty practice areas: Adult Health, Oncology, Pediatrics and Psychiatry/Mental Health.

You are allowed to be certified as a clinical nurse specialist in more than one specialty practice area. However, you must file a separate Application for a Clinical Nurse Specialist Certificate (Form 1) and $80 fee for each specialty practice area in which you seek certification. In addition, you must also meet all applicable criteria for each specialty practice area in which you seek clinical nurse specialist certification.

After you have met all requirements for clinical nurse specialist certification in a specialty area, SED will issue you a clinical nurse specialist certificate and a registration certificate.

  • Your clinical nurse specialist certification is valid for life, unless you surrender it to SED or it is revoked, annulled or suspended by the New York State Board of Regents.
  • Your clinical nurse specialist registration certificate will authorize you to practice as a clinical nurse specialist for up to 3 years (the initial registration period varies based on when you become certified and your date of birth). Thereafter, you are responsible for renewing your clinical nurse specialist registration every 3 years. You must renew your clinical nurse specialist registration and your RN registration with SED in order to continue practicing as a clinical nurse specialist. You are not legally allowed to provide nursing services as a clinical nurse specialist while your clinical nurse specialist or RN registration is expired.

Laws that govern clinical nurse specialist certification include Education Law §6911 and 8 NYCRR Part 64.

You should also read the general licensing information applicable for all professions.


Fees

The fee for certification and initial registration to practice as a clinical nurse specialist in a specialty practice area is $80 ($50 certificate application fee plus a $30 fee for the initial registration.)

The first time that you renew your registration as a clinical nurse specialist in a specialty area of practice, your registration fee will be approximately $30.

The fee to renew a registration in a clinical nurse specialist specialty practice area after the first registration renewal is $30.

Fees are subject to change. The fee due is the one in law when your application is received (unless fees are increased retroactively). You will be billed for the difference if fees have been increased.

  • Do not send cash.
  • Make your personal check or money order payable to the New York State Education Department. Your cancelled check is your receipt.
  • Mail your application and fee to:

    NYS Education Department
    Office of the Professions
    PO Box 22063
    Albany, NY 12201

Please Note: Payment submitted from outside the United States should be made by check or draft on a United States bank and in United States currency; payments submitted in any other form will not be accepted and will be returned.


Partial Refunds

Individuals who withdraw their licensure application may be entitled to a partial refund.

  • For the procedure to withdraw your application, contact the Nurse Unit by e-mailing opunit4@nysed.gov or by calling 518-474-3817 ext. 280 or by faxing 518-474-3398.
  • The State Education Department is not responsible for any fees paid to an outside testing or credentials verification agency.

If you withdraw your application, obtain a refund, and then decide to seek New York State certification at a later date, you will be considered a new applicant, and you will be required to pay the certification and initial registration fees and meet the certification requirements in place at the time you reapply.


Professional Education & Experience Requirements for Clinical Nurse Specialists

If you are applying to be certified as a clinical nurse specialist, you must present evidence, acceptable to SED, which demonstrates that have met all applicable professional education and experience requirements for clinical nurse specialist certification. To satisfy the professional education and experience requirements for clinical nurse specialist certification, you must meet the criteria in one of the items (1, 2, 3 or 4) below.

  1. You must graduate from a clinical nurse specialist education program registered by SED.

    -or-

  2. You must graduate from a clinical nurse specialist education program that is determined by SED to be the equivalent to a clinical nurse specialist education program registered by SED - and - be currently certified as a clinical nurse specialist by one of the following national certifying organizations:

    • American Nurses Credentialing Center
      (For New York State clinical nurse specialist certification in Pediatrics, Psychiatric/Mental Health and Adult Health)

    • American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) Certification Corporation
      (For New York State clinical nurse specialist certification in Pediatrics and Psychiatric/Mental Health)

    • Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation
      (For New York State clinical nurse specialist certification in Oncology).

    -or-

  3. You must hold a license or certification as a clinical nurse specialist issued by another state or country and have met the substantial equivalent of the New York requirements for clinical nurse specialist certification, as determined by SED.

    -or-

  4. You must send a complete application and fee for clinical nurse specialist certification to SED prior to September 15, 2015 and satisfactorily meet criteria described in either item (a) or (b) below prior to September 15, 2017. Please note that all required documentation and forms pertaining to the clinical nurse specialist certification must be received by SED no later than September 14, 2017.

    1. You must complete a master’s degree in clinical nursing practice, which is determined by SED to be substantially equivalent to the preparation provided by a registered clinical nurse specialist education program and have completed after January 1, 2011, at least three thousand hours of clinical practice in a clinical nurse specialty area in a general hospital in New York State.

      -or-

    2. You must be currently certified as a clinical nurse specialist by a national certification organization listed below in the following specialty areas:

      • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
        (Acceptable ANCC Certifications include: Clinical Nurse Specialist Adult Health, Clinical Nurse Specialist Adult-Gerontology, Clinical Nurse Specialist Pediatrics, Clinical Nurse Specialist Adult Psychiatric & Mental Health and Clinical Nurse Specialist Child Psychiatric & Mental Health)

      • American Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification Corporation (AACN)
        (Acceptable AACN Certifications include: Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist -Adult, Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist- Pediatric, Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist- Neonatal, Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, and Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist.)

      • Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC)
        (Acceptable ONCC Certification is Advanced Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification.)
Last Updated: August 19, 2014